Doctor of Philosophy in the Field of Social and Behavioral Sciences in Public Health

Program Director  M. Napolitano


The PhD in social and behavioral sciences in public health degree program is designed to develop public health scholars who are at the forefront of social and behavior change. The program trains students to conduct independent research that is theoretically sound and applicable across a variety of contexts in order to prevent diseases and promote health and well-being.


The goal of the PhD degree program is to train students to conduct rigorous and state-of-the-art independent research to advance understanding of social and behavioral sciences in public health. The program is designed to be four years in duration, with comprehensive exams at the end of the second year, and full dissertation work during the remaining two years.

Visit the program website for additional program information.

The following requirements must be fulfilled: 48 credits, including 12 credits in foundation courses, 9 credits in required courses, 6 credits in advanced research courses, 14 credits in elective courses, and 7 credits in dissertation courses.

TOTAL PROGRAM: 48 credits
Foundational & Research Courses = 15 credits (all required)
Statistics Courses =  9 credits (includes two required courses)
Methods Courses =  9 credits (includes three required courses)
Content Area Electives = 6 credits
Dissertation Prep & Dissertation = 9 credits

Foundational & Research Courses
15 credits
PUBH 8416Study Design & Evaluation Methods
PUBH 8408Advanced Topics: Health Behavior Research & Practice Applications
PUBH 8409Advanced Topics: Health Communication Research
PUBH 8434Behavioral Medicine and Public Health
PPPA 8190Philosophical Foundations of Policy and Administrative Research
Statistics Courses
Minimum 9 credits (first 2 courses are required)
PUBH 8418Applied Statistical Analysis
PUBH 8419Measurement in Public Health and Health Services
ECON 8375Econometrics I
EDUC 8144Discourse Analysis
EDUC 8171Predictive Designs and Analyses
EDUC 8173Structural Equation Modeling
DNSC 6211Programming for Analytics
DNSC 6215Social Network Analytics
DNSC 6274Statistical Modeling and Analysis
DNSC 6275Advanced Statistical Modeling and Analysis
DNSC 6276Exploratory and Multivariate Data Analysis
MBAD 6221Judgment, Uncertainty, and Decisions
MBAD 6222Data Analysis and Decisions
FINA 6271Financial Modeling and Econometrics
Methods Courses (Minimum 9 credits) first 3 courses required
PUBH 8417Qualitative Research Methods and Analysis
PUBH 6242Clinical Epidemiology and Public Health: Reading the Research
PUBH 8242Advanced Topics in Clinical Epidemiology and Public Health: Reading the Research
PUBH 8364Quantitative Methods
PUBH 8365Design of Medical Studies
PSYC 8231Development of Psychometric Instruments
PSYC 8258Qualitative Research and Analysis
EDUC 8130Survey Research Methods
EDUC 8131Case Study Research Methods
EDUC 8140Ethnographic Research Methods
EDUC 8142Phenomenological Research Methods
PHIL 6253Cognitive Science and Public Policy
Content Area Electives
Minimum of 6 credits. Must take at least one course in Social and Behavioral Sciences and one course in Current Issues in Public Health/Diversity. Sample list below.
Social and Behavioral Sciences
PSYC 8211Community Psychology I
PSYC 8212Community Psychology II
PSYC 8253Social Cognition
PSYC 8254Social Influence
PSYC 8255Attitudes and Attitude Change
PSYC 8275Women and Health
PSYC 8287Current Topics in Clinical Psychology
EXNS 6242Nutrition Throughout the Life Cycle
ANTH 6501Gender and Sexuality
ANTH 6505Medical Anthropology
PUBH 6555Reproductive Health: U.S. and Global Perspectives
PUBH 6561Maternal and Child Health Policy Analysis
PUBH 6562Physical Activity and Obesity Interventions: From the Individual to the Environment
PUBH 6571Social Marketing: Theory and Practice
PUBH 6573Media Advocacy for Public Health
PUBH 6262Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
PUBH 6574Public Health Branding: Theory and Practice
Current Issues in Public Health
HCS 8369Issues in Health Care
HDEV 8100Issues and Special Topics in Human Development
PUBH 8405Advanced Topics: Health Economics Research
PSYC 8220Ethics and Professional Issues
PSYC 8236Ethnic and Racial Diversity in Psychology
Other 8000 level GW elective courses not listed above do not require advanced approval prior to enrollment. Advanced Advisor's approval prior to enrollment required for any other courses.
Dissertation Preparation and Dissertation
8 credits taken as follows:
2 credits in Advanced Theorizing in Social and Behavioral Sciences in Public Health (course pending)
PUBH 8435PhD Dissertation Proposal Development
and 7 credits in:
PUBH 8999Dissertation Research